View Full Version : Waht is a good rate to 'rent out' my laser??

Patrick Lloyd
03-22-2012, 10:50 AM
I have been asked by a college student to rent time on my laser. I have an epilog 30w w 12x18 bed. Not sure yet if I will follow through with the 'time share' thing due to liability.

If you were going to do this what do ou consider a fair price, let's say per hour or for a block of 8hours

Martin Boekers
03-22-2012, 10:57 AM
I have been asked by a college student to rent time on my laser. I have an epilog 30w w 12x18 bed. Not sure yet if I will follow through with the 'time share' thing due to liability.

If you were going to do this what do ou consider a fair price, let's say per hour or for a block of 8hours

Me personally, would stay away from it. How would you deal with a situation if the laser was
damaged, or they somehow injured themself? What about the computer? There is always a possibility
of lost or corrupted files.

Check your insurance policy for coverage, this student may not be covered.

Is it worth the risk for a few hundred dollars?


Ross Moshinsky
03-22-2012, 11:00 AM
I wouldn't rent out my equipment to anyone unless they were a close friend or a trusted colleague. If I did, it would probably be at double our shop rate. If they made a huge mistake, I'd need to cover any and all costs.

There are different ways to handle this that would make a lot more sense.

1. Take the work in. Do it yourself. Charge what you feel is fair.
2. Invite the student to work with you. Charge what you feel is fair.
3. Invite the student to work with you. Trade your services for their help. I'm sure you could find something for the kid to do to save you some time around your shop.
4. Give them a job. Once trained, allow access to the machine under certain guidelines.

Patrick Lloyd
03-22-2012, 11:12 AM
Thanks guys for a prompt reply. I definitely agree with you.


Patrick Lloyd

Greg Bednar
03-22-2012, 12:07 PM
If you were going to do this what do ou consider a fair price, let's say per hour or for a block of 8hours

$2.00 per minute; 10 minute minimum; your presence at the laser while in operation. He/she brings own files and laptop and media with guest access on the network. If you get involved, standard shop rates apply.

Steven Cox
03-22-2012, 8:34 PM
I wouldn't "rent" the laser for them to use in any circumstance. I would however produce the item/s for them if they supplied the files and materials to work with and would allow them to watch but not touch. Just tell em it's an insurance thing, your insurance doesn't cover 3rd party access to the machine or use of workshop tools - only staff.

Price wise, I work on 3 structures to help cost things I sell when calculating laser time. Wholesale $90 per hour, Trade $120 per hour and Retail $180+ per hour. Just workout which category they would fit and charge that rate with a minimum of X hours. Just remember if they watch they ask lots of questions which takes more time, so you just need to decide if you bill them for actual time in the workshop or just the machine time. Myself I would generally charge workshop time because time is money, unless they were friends or very good customers.

Dee Gallo
03-22-2012, 8:54 PM
I have an apprentice who works for me one day a week doing whatever needs doing, mostly color filling and wood prep. When she wants to do her own project, she must buy the materials and prepare the files... of course I had to teach her how to do this. She usually has the files on her computer or a flashdrive. I have walked her through setting up the laser, focus procedure, checking settings, etc. and still double check her every step, but let her do it. She has done wood, acrylic and cermark on metal. She has engraved and cut and now knows how to finish the work as well. When she comes to work and has a project to do, we dedicate 3 hours to my stuff and 3 hours to her stuff. Most times she just does my work and that's how she learns. She is practicing drawing on her own and can handle CorelDraw pretty well.

I do not think that a student or anyone can just walk in and "rent" your laser without it being a total hope and poke situation. Think back to the first time you used your own laser, it was not a simple walk in the park for most of us. Every laser has its idiosyncrasies and only you know what those are. It's too expensive a tool to lend out.

My apprentice wanted to learn, wants no money and she works hard for me doing any job I give her from easy to boring to scary to fun. In turn, she's getting experience no school can give her and lots of freebies because I like her a lot. She's also getting a lot of adult conversation about work, girl-talk with an old girl and hearing the perspective of someone who is not her mother or teacher or friend. I get some help and enjoy helping a new skill come into being. You need to assess where this student is coming from and what his intentions are as far as wanting to learn or just wanting to press GO once.

cheers, dee

Joe Pelonio
03-22-2012, 10:31 PM
I had that come up with an Art Institute student, turns out they had a laser there but no one knew how to use it so she would have taken advantage of my help and then used that one. I declined and got many jobs from her, as she majored in furniture design and I made a lot of miniatures from her Solidworks files. Like the others, no one is going to rent my machine unless it's a local Creeker in trouble.

art baylor
03-23-2012, 11:48 PM
In Denver the is a group to join that teaches you and lets you use their equipment. http://www.clubworkshop.com/ There may be other similar organizations in other cities. Art

Shawn Conklin
03-25-2012, 4:52 PM
We 'rent' our machine out all the time. But what it really boils down to is we charge a fee to setup a job $30 - $60 then we Charge $60 - $90 an hour depending on material. Acrylic and rubber get the full $. What we allow the customer to do is simply prep the artwork on the computers we have for customers then they get to watch the job run and reload the machine when its done. They are allowed to hit 'go' and 'stop' on the machine. They basically play the role of shop helper but pay us. We have a few art people that do this simply so they do not have to pay extra for me to run their jobs that may require a lot of reloading.

We have made thousands doing this that likely would not have happened because the labor on watching and loading the machine would have put the artists out of budget. Had one guy who cut 800 squares out of sheets of paper. Very fast on the machine but slow on labor.

I let one person use the system completely on his own but that was after he demonstrated a very good knowledge of the machine.

There are hackerspaces that allow people to run their own jobs after they take a class. nycresistor is one.